Tip of the week # 544
11 June 2018

Set up a second e-mail signature for sending messages outside office hours (Microsoft Outlook) *

Last week I read a newspaper article whether or not we should feel obliged to reply instantly to emails received outside working hours. Unless you work across time zones there really shouldn't be a need to check your emails in the evening or at weekends. Some companies (like one of my clients) even specifically state that you should only engage in work-related communication outside working time in exceptional circumstances.

But what if it suits you better to send it outside those hours? You could obviously schedule your message to be sent at your preferred date and time (see tip 503). But why not set up a second e-mail signature to make it clear for your contacts that you do not expect an immediate response. That way you can swap between your normal one (sent during office hours) and the one sent outside office hours.

Here's how:

  1. Create your e-mail message as normal. (CTRL + N springs to mind.)
  2. On the Message tab, in the Include group, click Signature, and then click Signatures.
  3. On the E-mail Signature tab, click New.
  4. Type a name for the signature and press ENTER (or click on OK).
  5. In the Edit signature box, type the text that you want to include in the signature.
  6. Click OK.
  7. In the e-mail message, right-click the existing signature and select the name of the signature that you want to use from the drop-down list.

One signature shared widely on social media reads: "I am sending this email at the weekend because it fits with my schedule this week. This does not imply an expectation that you respond outside your working hours."

Related tips:

  1. Tip # 503: Schedule your e-mail message to be sent at your preferred date and time (tip_503.php)
  2. Tip # 282: Switch from one signature to another (tip_282.php)


* Unless stated otherwise, these tips were written for Microsoft Office 2010.